Sunday, June 12, 2022

More than a Bit of Barney

Film: Cockneys vs. Zombies
Format: Streaming video from Amazon/Freevee on Fire!

There’s a reason that zombie movies make really good fodder for comedy. It’s because zombies—the slow ones—are very easily made comedic. What makes zombies such fantastic monsters is exactly that. One zombie is at least potentially funny. It’s slow and clumsy. A horde of zombies is terrifying, though. As the numbers get bigger, the ability to fight them off is reduced. It’s easy to go from comedy to horror and back again. And that is the premise of Cockneys vs. Zombies.

On the surface, Cockneys vs. Zombies looks very much like its trying to capitalize on Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, and honestly that’s not a bad thought. It very clearly is made in the same vein and is at least in part trying to do something very similar. The difference here is that we’re not looking at slackers dealing with zombies or the Odd Couple after the apocalypse, but Guy Ritchie meets Dawn of the Dead. What that means is that we’re going to be dealing with a bank heist that happens right around the same time that the zombies show up.

First, we need our zombies. At a construction site, a couple of workers find a catacomb sealed off by edict of Charles II. They open it hoping for treasure, but of course they find a mobile corpse or two and are quickly turned. This sets up the mounting zombie horde in London’s East End.

Our second plot involves a retirement home where lives a number of retired pensioners. Primary among these is Ray (Alan Ford) and his sort of girlfriend Peggy (Honor Blackman). The home is being shut down, torn down, and turned into flats, though, and the old folks will be sent elsewhere. This doesn’t set well with Ray, who has lived in the East End his entire life.

To the rescue of Ray come his grandsons, Terry (Rasmus Hardiker) and Andy (Harry Treadaway), who have decided to rob a bank to get the funds to keep Ray and his friends where they are. Assisting them is their cousin Katy (Michelle Ryan), their loser geezer wannabee friend Davey Tuppence (Jack Doolan), and Iraqi War vet Mental Mickey (Ashley Thomas). The bank robbery goes off oddly, since they’ve managed to walk into the middle of an embezzlement scheme, but it still goes awry. The police show up, but by the time the gang has gotten themselves sorted and grabbed hostages Clive (Tony Gardner) and Emma (Georgia King), the zombies have eaten the police. The crew decides to take the money along with them as well as their hostages, but Mental Mickey gets bitten.

Meanwhile, at the retirement home, the zombies attack and our pensioners barricade themselves in the building. The rest of the second act and the third consist of our bank robbers going to rescue the old folks and hopefully escape the zombie hordes.

There are a number of comedy moments in Cockneys vs. Zombies that really work. One of the better bits has one of the pensioners napping in the garden while the zombies attack. He eventually wakes up and needs to get to the building, but since he uses a walker he can’t go very fast. We have the slowest game of pursuit as he rushes as much as he can to stay just outside of the reach of the zombies behind him. And I will say that it’s quite a sight to see an ex-Bond girl beating the crap out of zombies with a mallet.

I’m not going to like--Cockneys vs. Zombies is a lot of fun, but it’s also not anything that you don’t expect. Most of it is predictable all the way through. It’s not specifically that the jokes are telegraphed, but they aren’t incredibly original. Oh, there are some great moments (dealing with Mickey is a great moment—it’s important to note that he has a metal plate in his head, which makes headshot ricochet), but there aren’t a lot of new moments here. You’ve seen pretty much everything that you’re going to see here.

Admittedly, that’s not a huge problem. This is still an entertaining ride even it if doesn’t really break a great deal of new ground. The zom-com has been done before, after all, and done with a bigger budget and bigger names. But for all that, this is effective and better than the exploitative name would suggest.

Why to watch Cockneys vs. Zombies: Shaun of the Dead meets Snatch.
Why not to watch: It is pretty derivative.

4 comments:

  1. I'm sure there's better films than this though seeing Honor Blackman killing zombies might be fun to watch.

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    1. It is exactly what you expect it to be and as predictable as it is and as devoid of anything new, it still manages to be better in a lot of ways than Army of the Dead.

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  2. I watched this a few years back & forgot about most of it because, yeah, it is very derivative. That said, you reminded of that ultra-slow foot chase which is hilarious.

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    1. That is, by far, the best part of the movie.

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